Avoid hurting your mate -- or yourself -- by considering the ways relationships can falter.
Step 1: Seek stability Surround yourself with good, stable friends. Keeping up and socializing with old buddies can help you maintain the critical connection to good advice and needed perspectives.
TIP: Before starting a new relationship, make sure you are over your previous one.
Step 2: Discuss sexual problems Discuss and work on sexual problems rather than ignoring the destruction that can result. Seek to experiment and challenge discomforts rather than let things worsen.
Step 3: Pull back Pull back and recharge periodically, and don't be afraid to say no when life is getting confusing or too busy. Have some fun once in a while and turn off the brain.
Step 4: Stop yourself Stop yourself from rejecting the other person before -- as you might fear -- they reject you. Learn to accept yourself or your self-doubt and confusion may sink the relationship.
TIP: Forgive rather than nurture injured feelings. Sometimes we have to let cherished illusions go.
Step 5: Confront jealousy Confront jealousy before trust and intimacy are destroyed.
TIP: Everyone needs a degree of privacy, including the desire not to share past lives and relationships.
Step 6: Require trust first Earn trust and require the other to earn theirs before sharing your secrets and declaring feelings of love. Respect yourself and take time to know someone.
Step 7: Model healthy relationships Model a good, healthy relationship for the children. Keep children away from negative situations, such as a partner if you're planning on ending the relationship -- it will only make matters worse in the end.
FACT: In 2008, there were more than 27,000 marriage and family therapists in America.